No Consensus Yet on Storage of Krško Nuclear Waste

By 1 October 2019

ZAGREB, October 1, 2019 - The Slovenian-Croatian commission on the Krško nuclear power plant failed at a meeting in Bled on Monday to reach a consensus on building a joint radioactive waste storage facility in Vrbina near Krško, Slovenia, and Croatia continues activities aimed at building its own facility.

The meeting discussed the successful operation of the co-owned power plant and possibilities for storing medium- and low-level radioactive waste from Krško, but a consensus on a joint storage facility in Vrbina has not been reached for now, Croatian Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić and Slovenian Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek said at a joint press conference.

The meeting was presented with the third review of the Programme for degradation and the Programme for disposal of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. The documents will be forwarded to the Slovenian government and the Croatian parliament for consideration, after which they should be confirmed by the joint commission at a meeting planned for December or January.

Slovenia plans to build a radioactive waste storage facility in Vrbina near Krško and proposes that Croatia stores its share of waste from the Krško plant there. "Currently there is no consensus on a joint solution, but we remain open to talks with Croatia in accordance with the agreement between the two countries," Bratušek said.

Ćorić said that the Slovenian proposal was problematic to Croatia for several reasons, one being that in Vrbina it would be possible to store only radioactive waste from the Krško plant.

This is not a long-term solution for Croatia because it has institutional waste at a number of locations. If Croatia agrees to a joint storage facility in Vrbina, it will have to build a facility to store medical and other radioactive waste in its own territory, which would not make sense, Ćorić said. "We want a final solution to cover all types of waste," the Croatian minister said.

Ćorić said that Croatia was ready for an alternative scenario, citing the Čerkezovac site on Mount Trgovska Gora at Dvor, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, but added that it should be seen how talks with Slovenia would proceed. "Regardless of that, our preparations for Čerkezovac continue," he added.

Responding to questions from the press, Ćorić said that Croatia was aware of protests from Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Una-Sana Canton, and stressed that the matter would be discussed with Bosnia and Herzegovina during the preparation of an environmental impact study.

Asked why other types of Croatian medium- and low-level radioactive waste could not be stored in the planned facility in Vrbina, which might be acceptable to Croatia as a long-term solution, Bratušek said that under the existing agreement only radioactive waste from the nuclear power plant itself could be stored within its grounds. She added that the matter should be resolved by 2025, after which it would not be allowed for Croatian nuclear waste to be stored within the power plant complex.

During the meeting, a small group of Bosnian environmental activists protested outside the Bled hotel saying that the Čerkezovac site was unacceptable because of the soil composition and because of local population on both sides of the border.

More news about Krško nuclear plant can be found in the Business section.